Landlord and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

questions & answers

Question: In our lease it states that we must perfrom regular maintenance to the outside. We live in an HOA, and have complied with all request, and kept the property in good condition. We are about to move out, and suddenly the landlord is saying that we must perform landscaping on trees, and bushes that were neglected for years. We have kept everything well trimmed, but there are areas that there is at least 10 years of old growth (cactus, and palm trees). How much am I on the hook for with respect to pre-existing landscape conditions.

Answer: While I am not aware of any legal principle that is on point, and while the obligation to maintain the exterior is likely enforceable, you do not have any legal obligation to do anything other than maintain unless the lease says something else besides "regular maintenance" as you indicate. I would point out that the plain language of the lease says maintain, which necessarily means to keep it in the same condition as when you found it. If you do not comply with the request, the landlord may attempt to withhold some or all of your security deposit and you may need to go to small claims court/justice court to address the issue. The landlord is required pursuant to A.R.S. 33-1321(D) to provide you with a detailed list of any deductions from your security deposit. I'm hopeful you can resolve it though by focusing on the fact that you have maintained the exterior consistent with how it was when you arrived. Please note that I am working with limited information and we have not entered into an attorney-client relationship. As a result, I am not able to provide you with legal advice. I hope that some of the general guidance I have provided will be helpful to you. I wish you the best.

QUESTIONS

  • In our lease it states that we must perfrom regular maintenance to the outside. We live in an HOA, and have complied with all request, and kept the property in good condition. We are about to move out, and suddenly the landlord is saying that we must perform landscaping on trees, and bushes that were neglected for years. We have kept everything well trimmed, but there are areas that there is at least 10 years of old growth (cactus, and palm trees). How much am I on the hook for with respect to pre-existing landscape conditions.

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